More Than 200 Killed in Avalanches and Floods in Afghanistan

At least 100 more people have been reported dead in avalanches in northern Afghanistan, bringing the total death toll since Wednesday to at least 230, Anadolu Agency report.

Afghanistan’s Natural Disaster Management Authority’s senior official Mohammad Aslam Sayas told AA, “Apart from avalanches, heavy snowfalls and floods have caused human losses and destruction in several provinces, including Panjshir, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kapisa, Parwan, Nuristan and capital Kabul.”

Report By Zabihullah Tamanna

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – At least 100 more people were reported dead in avalanches in northern Afghanistan on Thursday, bringing the total death toll since Wednesday morning to at least 230 people, Afghan officials told The Anadolu Agency.

The northeastern Panjshir province is so far the worst-hit area in the country, where authorities recovered 86 more bodies Thursday, bringing the toll since Wednesday morning to 186 in this province alone, provincial police chief, Gen. Aziz Ghairat, told AA.

Ghairat said that there were more than 100 others who had suffered injuries in the avalanches and heavy snowfall in the area. He added that there were at least 100 others missing in the area.

“Several villages, including provincial capital were hit by avalanches; two villages totally disappeared from the face of the earth,” Ghairat said.

He added that local aid workers and those sent by the central government were able to so far open only 18 kilometers of roads that connect the provincial capital with local districts.

Afghan Defense Ministry officials said that choppers at their disposal were unable to land on most of the avalanche-hit areas of Panjshir.

A provincial police spokesperson in northeastern Badakhshan province told AA on Thursday that at least 18 people were killed when an avalanche hit a remote village. Earlier this week, 10 people had lost their lives in avalanches in the same province.

Afghanistan’s Natural Disaster Management Authority’s senior official Mohammad Aslam Sayas on Thursday told AA that emergency assistance, including medicines, food, tents and warm clothes were sent to disaster-hit areas.

“Apart from avalanches, heavy snowfalls and floods have caused human losses and destruction in several provinces, including Panjshir, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kapisa, Parwan, Nuristan and capital Kabul,” Ayas said.

At least eight people, including women and children were also killed in heavy rains and snowfall in eastern Nangarhar and Laghman provinces, he added.

It is feared that there are scores more dead buried under the snow, which authorities are yet to discover.

On Wednesday, 13 people were reported dead in avalanches in Parwan province and five others in central Bamyan provinces.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a statement offered condolences to the victims’ families and ordered authorities to do their best to help the people in the disaster-hit areas.

The Afghan national cricket team also dedicated their shock victory Thursday against Scotland at the ongoing cricket world cup in New Zealand to the Afghan victims.

Local Afghans along with government workers have been carrying out rescue operations in the disaster areas since Wednesday morning. Fazul Rahim, a local from Khenj district, told AA Wednesday via phone that at least 13 people were killed in his single village alone; two of his cousins were among the dead.

“We have discovered the bodies, but cold weather and snow-covered ground is not allowing us to bury our loved ones,” Rahim added.

The Salang Tunnel Pass, which connects Afghanistan’s northern provinces with the southern provinces remains closed because of more than 70 avalanches that have hit the country since Feb. 24.

Afghan capital Kabul and adjacent provinces, too, continue to suffer with many areas facing severe power shortages because of storms and heavy snowfall giving no respite to the war ravaged Afghan people.

www.aa.com.tr/en

Parts of Pakistan have also been hit by floods over the last few days. AA report that at least 5 people have been killed in the sever weather.

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - FEBRUARY 25: Afghan refugees live in harsh conditions in their village after heavy rain in Islamabad, Pakistan, on February 25, 2015. Photo: AA
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – FEBRUARY 25: Afghan refugees live in harsh conditions in their village after heavy rain in Islamabad, Pakistan, on February 25, 2015. Photo: AA